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Opinions of Thursday, 14 April 2016

Columnist: Charles WEREKO-BROBBY (Dr)

Is 7th November change date in peril?

Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby

Phew, it looks like we have been spared the doomsday choice between the Incompetence of the Incumbency versus the Chaos that has engulfed the wannabees.

Election 2016 is now going to be about Change, We the people of Ghana will be faced with a very straight forward decision when we go to the polls to decide the next President of Ghana.

Are our lives being transformed by Change that is already happening? Or will we better off casting our lot with the transformational Change that is promised?

Just as we were assured that ‘plans are far advanced’ for we the people of Ghana, acting as the jury, to pronounce our verdict on which of the competing ‘winds of change’ would benefit us most, a spanner has been thrown into the spooks of the E-Day bicycle.

There is a preposterous suggestion that the race towards 7 November 2016 should be stopped and restarted from near the starting blocks

The New Patriotic Party (NPP), which describes itself as the ‘leading opposition party in Ghana,’ has hinted at the preposterous suggestion that the brand new CI 91, the Constitutional Instrument that will guide the imminent and already late limited registration exercise, should be amended and re-laid before Parliament, simply to accommodate the NPP’s belated realisation that its much touted ‘validation’ process was all about nothing without legislative backing

The above hint is contained in a long winded response to the EC’s proposals, at the IPAC meeting of March 19, 2016, for auditing the voters register to sanitise it for this year’s elections. Let\s be thankful for small mercies, for at long last the NPP has come out of hiding behind the Let My Vote Count Alliance (LMVCA) and the assorted groups of fawning sycophants labelled as the ‘majority of Ghanaians”

Much as we should welcome the fact that the NPP has come out from behind the cloak of its ventriloquists, there are very many fundamental issues with the proposal to reset the electoral clock which has been ticking since January id this year. The bald reality is that if we go along the suggested path, we would almost certainly have to postpone E-Day to a date beyond 7 November 2016, thus shredding the very sensible rationale that seeks to eliminate the post-election chaos of 2012.

Let’s start with the practicalities of the proposal. The first hurdle to overcome will be to get it to be accepted as meritorious by the other parties at IPAC , and if it does, to persuade the EC to adopt it and agree to resetting the already very tight schedule laid out to E-Day. This will be almost akin to Don Quixote’s futile tilts at windmills.

If the NPP manages to overcome the foregoing monumental obstacle, the next hurdle will be dealing with the sheer mechanics of getting the appropriate legislation into law. For a start, it is patently wrong to assume that it is only CI91 that will need to be changed. It will be necessary to establish that more fundamental changes to constructional provisions would not be needed. If they are, the whole exercise will be still born. It will be impossible to get a simple majority, let alone the 66% votes needed to change a non-entrenched act in our constitution

Assuming that it is indeed CI 91 that needs to be amended, Parliament is not due to reconvene till the middle of May If a charitable EC were to lay an amended CI on the first day, it will have to sit for 21 working days for it to mature then there will be the need to set new date for limited registration and give enough notice to us, the people of Ghana. This could see the start of the registration exercise postponed to well into July

I have deliberately gone into this elaborate detail for two reasons. Firstly, the obvious futility of the whole exercise; and secondly, the worthlessness of the pursuit of an entitlement mentality and acting in too much haste and throwing away the chances of attaining consensus, Pursuing the action will only achieve one thing, postponing Election 2016 beyond its scheduled date of 7 November to an uncertain new date in the future, even possibly beyond this year. I am not sure that this unintended consequence will be acceptable to those who are assuring us that Change is surely coming, and more dangerously, to those who expect the promised change to deliver plenty manna from the Matemeho heaven

And yet it could all been different if humility and a proper consideration of the rights and views of other competitors had informed considerations. The LMVCA, the public face of the NPP, Was the first to reject the Crabbe committee’s report even before the ink had dried on it. As I write this piece, the NPP thesis on ‘validation’ is founded on the contents of the Crabbe report, especially its Table on Page 21, which is just illustrative but not a firm recommendation. Now those clutching at straws falsely present it as a firm recommendation and are therefore forced to swallow their venomous spit and now shout for an amended CI 91

For those in the NPP who have their ears still open to rationale advice, whether Change will Come or we shall be stuck with the Happening Change will depend solely on the evidence the NPP presents that the coming Change will indeed transform our “asetena mu”(well-being ) substantially for the better. It will simply not be good enough to say K4’s legacy is fantastic, and ditto @NAkufoAddo will do likewise.

For now @JDMahama is out there on the stomps narrating the evidence of Change Happening according to the real and photo-shooped evidence in the Green Book. True or false, is immaterial. The appropriate retort is not to shout “it is not true, produce the evidence”! The riposte is to show us convincing evidence of the transformation that “Change is Coming” will make in our lives under an Akufo- Addo stewardship

I would advise that those who aspire to the Changes is Coming philosophy should start the process by recalibrating their attitude to their fellow competitors and the match referee. For a soccer-mad country like Ghana, it is a motherhood statement to have to repeat the mantra, “The referee decision if final”, even we question their parentage.

PS In 2000 the ratio of registered voters to eligible population was 105%. Likewise in 2004, the ratio was 96$. This the voters register used for both elections were bloated. The NPP won both elections. Lesson? It's all about the ground game on the day. Vigilance is the applicable ‘V’

Charles Y, Wereko-Brobby (Dr)

Chief Policy Adviser, GIPPO


Twitter: @ eyetarzan

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